Discovering my Strengths

I'm not sure how many people I sit amongst when I say that I sense that I'm not living to my potential, but I have a feeling, there are a few others.

I recently saw a meme going around Instagram saying something to the effect of, "If you haven't learned a new skill, perfected an old one, or started a new business, time was never your issue". This statement was in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak and loss of jobs across the world.

That hit me like a brick.

I have often blamed time, others, chores, responsibility etc. for my lack of completion of things.

"I don't have enough time to focus on myself!"

"If only s/he would get out of my way, I could complete x,y,z!"

"I wish people would stop emailing/texting/DM-ing me so I could get stuff done!"

Insert next excuse here.

I was actually inspired by my little brother to check out "Strengths Finder" and "Strengths Based Leadership" by Don Clifton after a recent short phone conversation with him.

Throughout my entire life, for as long as I can remember, I've always had people tell me I was smart, good at writing, and good with people. The irony; I've never been in a position or career where these skills could be illuminated; so, maybe it's time to take things into my own hands.

After reading the first portion of Strengths Finder, it instructed me to take an online assessment to discover what my strengths were. Here's my top 5, in order of strongest, down:

1. Input (acquiring new information, then writing about it)

2. Restorative (problem solving)

3. Command (managing/influencing/persuading)

4. Ideation (marketing/advertising/writing)

5. Individualization (supervising/writing articles)

Within each of my top strengths, a career idea or position was mentioned. Here's what I've observed; Journalism or other forms of writing, Customer Service, and Management were a common theme amongst all of my strengths. The irony; my first major right out of High School was Journalism. I later switched it to Computer Science, then again to Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science.

The theme of the Clifton books is to focus on your strengths and desires, rather than trying to "fix" the areas that you're not as good at. Funny; I originally took journalism because I enjoy writing. The reason I switched over to Math and CS was because I knew I was good at them, not because I liked them. In fact, I completely hated those majors!

I strayed away from Journalism or really any form of public writing until I started this blog not too long ago. I think I was in fear of losing the "popular vote" if people didn't like what I had to say. In fact, I know that's why.

At one point, I started documenting my personal life stories on here. For those that don't know me, I have a lot of them and they're EXTREMELY controversial. Drugs, strip clubs, arrests and private jets were definitely the "common affair". But, releasing my stories also gave me a certain psychological release as I became more and more transparent about my journey. I was finally ready to share with others, in hopes my stories could potentially help someone.

I started writing the stories in chronological order, as I remembered them. Granted, as humans, we're all susceptible of "remembering things incorrectly" or "switching narratives to better suit ourselves", but I tried my best to remember things and job them on "paper" as authentically possible. I also kind of enjoyed the shock and fascination I received from people as they responded to my stories.

But, after a podcast with a woman who worked closely with children discovered my blog, she kindly asked me to either remove the blog, or remove my podcast with her because she was worried that her association with "someone like me" could damage her career. I was at first slightly offended; not as much that she asked something like this of me, but more so because she didn't do her research and find my blog before she asked me to be a guest on my show. I replied kindly and told her I would remove my blog, even though I had barely scratched the surface of the chain of events I identified with as "my life".

I honestly felt like I lost a piece of me when I took these stories down. I had finally gained the courage to speak publicly, and in more detail than ever before. I have almost always been open about the things I had done in my past, but talking about some of the terrors or violence committed against me was something I was in fear of talking about. Of course, when I was writing, I kept names and certain details anonymous for obvious reasons, but I was finally talking about the real stuff; the stuff that nobody wants to talk about.

In retrospect, I could've continued writing, but kept it private, with the intention of maybe publishing something later, but I guess I let her opinion construct my following actions. Even though tons of other people encouraged me to write, her one "suggestion" determined my actions. It was almost as if I was looking for a reason to stop... but why?

I loved (and continue to love) writing... especially about some of my past experiences. I think a good handful of people do, but they fail to express themselves publicly in fear of losing a job, friends or even family members. I kind of got a thrill out of it because I didn't really care if anyone judged me on what I had done over a decade ago.

But, let's get back on track here; my strengths and the irony in it all; Journalism and Management.

So, I love writing. I love researching topics I'm intrigued by. So, what now? I guess I'm just throwing this out in the Universe in hopes something will fall into my lap, but I'm also actively seeking an area where I can thrive in my passions and strengths.

Need something written? I'd be interested in exploring this strength of mine; especially on the topic of veganism/ethics.

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